Peres: Ready to negotiate
Photo: Amir Cohen
Seniora: Leader of legal government of Lebanon
Vice Premier Shimon Peres said Tuesday in a special Knesset assembly that "We are ready to negotiate with the legal government of Lebanon, when they wrest themselves from Hizbullah's control, and with the Palestinians, when they wrest themselves from the terror of Hamas violence."
During his speech, Peres referred to the objectives of the war in the north, deployment of an international force in the region, and the possibility of negotiation as a solution to the crisis. At the beginning of his speech he said, "Israel is not fighting because it has targets in Lebanon. Israel is fighting because it was attacked, making the objective of the war to push back the attacks and to eradicate whoever wants to hurt us. Victory against Hizbullah will be declared when their ability to hurt us is diminished."
"Hizbullah revealed their nakedness in this war," Peres continued. "It has become clear to everyone that they do not serve any Lebanese interest, that they are of no benefit to Lebanon, and that there is no need for them. Indeed, Israel has withdrawn from Lebanon of our own will. There is no need to release Lebanese prisoners held by Israel because there aren't any, perhaps a few, solitary ones.
"Hizbullah has been revealed as a body acting against Lebanon. They are there to mock the Lebanese government. They have humiliated their army and have made the Lebanese army useless. They have shaken the stability of Lebanon and now is destroying her economy. Hizbullah serves a foreign army and is financed, trained and armed by Iran. They are subject to their authority – an authority that intends to impose Iranian hegemony on the region instead of Arab unity. Hizbullah has been condemned by a majority of the countries in the world, and publicly for the first time, by the Arab states. They are an embarrassment to the religion in whose name they fight, transforming it from a faith into hatred, a murderous, revengeful hatred that violates human rights. Morally, the Hizbullah has already lost. They will also lose militarily."
International action against Iran and Syria
"This time we will also build deterrence in accordance with the new circumstances. In war you need to win, and we also know that you need to end it by negotiating. We are prepared to negotiate with the legal government of Lebanon, when they wrest themselves from Hizbullah's control, and with the Palestinians, when they wrest themselves from the terror of Hamas violence. We are not disrespecting international organizations. We have respected UN decisions about Lebanon to the tee.
"We very much appreciate the positions of the eight important nations in the G-8, which for the first time presented a clear and details position backing Israel. However, in order for their support to be effective and not only declarative, they must take action against the quartet of terror – Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizbullah. Israel will continue to take a stand against Hamas and Hizbullah with determination; even we must do so alone. But the international community must deal Iran and Syria, who are threats to world peace."
Deployment of an international force – defeat for Hizbullah
In reference to the deployment of an international force in the region, Peres said: "It is preferable that there is international oversight of the missiles found in the hands of terrorists. Israel has proven their limitation and will act for their prevention. The deployment of international troops in Lebanon is a warning, even a defeat, for Hizbullah. Though the establishment of such a force is not sufficient, it is more important to define its purpose. Only with such a force can we prevent Hizbullah from returning to the border. Only with such a force can we prevent them from being armed with missiles indiscriminately aimed at civilians. Only in this manner will there be a contribution to aid and honoring agreements.
"There is no other country like Israel, who for the first six decades of its existence was attacked by armies more richly armed, and more abundantly manned than it. Despite this, its attackers were defeated. We have never turned to a foreign army to defend us. We did it ourselves. Even in long wars, such as the War of Independence and the Yom Kippur War, we persevered and came out on top. This time, we will also defend ourselves."